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Public to get say on £5m Norwich street shake-up, amid ‘uninspiring’ claim

PUBLISHED: 16:17 08 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:09 08 September 2020

A £4.8m scheme could speed up buses in St Stephens Street. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN

A £4.8m scheme could speed up buses in St Stephens Street. Picture: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Archant

People are to get their say on a £5m plan to revamp one of Norwich city centre’s main shopping streets - which council officers say would speed up buses and cut pollution.

St Stephens Street in Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLYSt Stephens Street in Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

But the £4.8m plans to shake-up St Stephens Street were described as “uninspiring” by one councillor.

Council leaders are still waiting to hear whether their bid for millions of pounds from the government’s Transforming Cities pot of cash has been successful.

The initial bid had hoped to get between £75m to £162m, but Norwich missed out on the initial award of cash and had to resubmit its case.

It is now battling it out with Portsmouth and Stoke-on-Trent for a share of £117m.

But, in expectation some money will be forthcoming, the council has drawn up plans which would see changes to St Stephens Street.

Brian Watkins, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Eaton. Pic: Liberal Democrats.Brian Watkins, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Eaton. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

That would see £4.8m of changes to the section between the inner ring road up to Red Lion Street, also taking in Surrey Street and Rampant Horse Street.

In St Stephens Street, new sawtooth bus bays would be created, which council bosses say would make it easier for buses to pull away after picking up or dropping off passengers.

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They say that would also cut air pollution in the street, as well as speeding up bus journey times.

At a meeting of the joint committee for Transforming Cities Fund projects it was agreed to put the scheme out for public consultation.

But Brian Watkins, Liberal Democrat county councillor, said: “I am somewhat disappointed. I think if this proposed scheme is supposed to be transformative, I am a bit underwhelmed. I do find it a little uninspiring.

“I cannot give it the enthusiastic backing that I’d like to.

Maybe the public will see things differently and we will see in due course.”

Steve Morphew, leader of the opposition Labour group at County Hall, said the lack of government funding meant it would make “improvements, but not transformations”.

Public consultation will be held in due course.

The committee also agreed to a separate £750,000 scheme for Thorpe Road, which would see a new bus and cycle contraflow, new zebra crossing and extensions for double yellow lines.

Public consultation on that scheme has already taken place.


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